Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Another Experience Ruined

Despite my extreme dislike for the Chicago Cubs and their know-nothing fans, a trip to Wrigley Field every few years has been one of my favorite things in sports.  Yes, the seats are too small for someone who is 6'3" and the bathrooms with the troughs for urinals and the stall doors that don't stay closed are kind of disgusting--but for in-game experience, it could not be beat.  Mostly day games, an organ instead of recorded pop music, and a hand-operated scoreboard meant that you could just pay attention to the game without all kinds of distractions.  And if there was a lull in the action, you could actually talk to the person next to you about the game and what was going on.

But over the years, that experience has been degraded.  Wrigley now hosts more night games than day games--so there are fewer opportunities to enjoy baseball the way it was meant to be played--with the sun on your shoulders and a breeze blowing out to left field.  The team claims playing all of those day games put them at a "competitive disadvantage"--which is why they hadn't won a World Series in 106 years--the players were "too tired".  And let's not forget how TV ratings were "hurt" by so many games not being in primetime.

And now rest of the Wrigley experience is ruined by the debut this season of a state-of-the-art video scoreboard in left field.  Now, instead of debating with the guy next to you if a pitch was a ball or a strike--or a runner was out or safe on a bang-bang play at first--you get 15 replays from every angle (including from the International Space Station) to take the fun out of the argument. 

In addition, you now get the in-stadium advertising that a visual medium brings with it.  Get ready for the Northwestern Mutual Starting Lineups!--with all of the players smiling next to a big Northwestern Mutual logo. Last Night's Highlights brought to you by Old Style, the Official Beer of the Chicago Cubs!  The Zimbrick Chevrolet Run of the Game brought to you by the Official Chevy Dealer of the Chicago Cubs!  Pizza Plinko brought to you by Palermo's Pizza--the Official Pizza of the Chicago Cubs! The Wrigley Field Kiss Cam brought to you by Match.com--the Official Dating Website of the Chicago Cubs!  How Far Did It Fly? brought to you by Southwest Airlines--Official Travel Partner of the Chicago Cubs!  And Guess the Attendance brought to you Schwartzki's Accounting--the Official Accountants of the Chicago Cubs.

So a pure baseball experience is no more.  Now Wrigley is just like every other stadium in the league--a "multimedia" experience where your constant entertainment is the primary goal--and the baseball is of secondary importance.  Cubs ownership would tell you that they "need to compete with 'home viewing experience'"--and now coming to Wrigley is just like sitting in your living room.  If your living room was designed for someone 5'6" and who never has to go to the bathroom.

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